Ways to Reduce Burn-out & Stress

To reduce the chance of "burn-out" and stress, exercise regularly, maintain outside interests such as hobbies, take regular breaks such as long week-ends and annual leave, use creative thinking techniques, etc..

- research has shown (Narelle Hooper, 2008a) that exercise improves the brain's function by improving the blood flow to parts of the brain and stimulating the leading cells to make brain neurotrophic factor (BDNF). These act like cerebral fertilizer for neurons. In fact, people learned 20 percent faster immediately after doing exercise.

- meditation has been found to help handle the stress and burn-out that can accompany change management. According to brain scans, experienced meditators have increased thickness in the parts of the brain that deal with attention and process sensory inputs. It has been claimed (Fiona Smith, 2006d) that meditation creates "stillness" in the mind, reduces anxiety and stress, and it allows people to tap into their unconscious and the creative side of the brain. This can help in decision-making. When meditating, beta brain waves slow down and allow people to tap into their intuition and to see new patterns.

- never allow yourself to become dehydrated as the brain stops functioning properly, ie the brain starts to close down and your effectiveness in decision-making, etc is impaired. For example, for every 10 kg of body weight you need to drink 1 glass of water plus 2 extra glasses, eg if you are 80 kg, you need to drink 10 (8 plus 2) glasses of water per day.

- not appreciating that the brain is a muscle that needs to be used and challenged to improve its performance by cognitive, physical and social activities, such as taking up a new hobby (learning a new language, learning to dance/sail, etc). For example, Churchill painted landscapes and Einstein played the violin. Furthermore, there are 4 pillars to brain health (physical exercise, balanced nutrition, brain exercise and stress management), ie

"...exercise for 30 minutes at least four times a week; eat a variety of foods of different colours; drink cold water; include fish and lots of green vegetables in your diet, but don't bother with supplements. And if stress gets you down, meditate or just breathe slowly for a few minutes..."

Joanna Maxwell, 2008

This will improve brain performance and build a buffer of reserve cognitive function for the future.

Balanced lifestyle is about a healthy mind in a healthy body. This is linked with well-being (involves physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, mental, etc elements)
In the increasing busyness of digitally-connected lives, eg "on 24/7", it is becoming increasingly hard to get a balanced lifestyle.

. Burnout can be a form of work-related stress. It is most likely to occur in middle professional levels where tight deadlines and high volumes of work means that long hours of work are necessary. Similarly for senior executives, where expectations of accessibility and output are relentless; including working weekends and holidays. As we progress up the organisational chain, work becomes more complicated with decisions less black and white plus interacting with a greater number of people with different interests and opinions.

Most executives think they are bullet-proof, ie these problems only happen to others, not themselves. Also, many executives are adrenaline addicts and get caught up in their ego.

Personality type is a factor in burnout, ie perfectionists are at a greater risk as they expect to get everything right every time. This can be very stressful.

The organisation's culture and the role of leadership play an important part in the emotional impact and experiences of staff. For example, value dissonance (where an individual's values do not align with those displayed by other people in the organisation). This can have a negative impact on job satisfaction, motivation and productivity and form the basis of burnout.

Experiencing burnout often means feeling empty, devoid of motivation and beyond caring. Usually people don't see any hope of positive change in their situation.

Use of rage rooms (Marina Pitofsky 2018)

They offer the angry and distressed a chance to vent their feelings by smashing things up.

It is regarded as as a form of stress relief, ie relieving the pressure, not anger management. The rooms can be used to address anxiety.

Women are the most frequent users of rage rooms.

Some health professionals have reservations about the therapeutical value of rage rooms. They should not be a substitute for communications or seeking help to get to the real causes.


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